The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday sealed California’s participation in a landmark Colorado River drought management plan, agreeing to shoulder more of the state’s future delivery cuts to prevent Lake Mead from falling to dangerously low levels. With California signed on, the plan can move to Congress, which must approve the multi-state agreement before it takes effect. The MWD board took the step over the objections of the Imperial Irrigation District, which holds senior rights to the biggest allocation of river water on the entire length of the Colorado.
Archive for date: March 12th, 2019
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As the water pulls back from long-time shorelines along California’s Salton Sea, officials are working to keep dust from the exposed lake bottom out of the air. Bruce Wilcox of the California Resources Agency looked out at what is now the new normal on the 35-mile-long lake’s southeastern shore. “Fifteen years ago there was water right where we’re standing and it’s just receded that much,” Wilcox said as he stood on a spur of land that used to be part of a boat launch.
After more than a decade in the making, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, was signed into law by President Donald Trump as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The National Heritage Area Act will provide $10 million for community-based efforts to conserve the Delta’s cultural heritage and historical landmarks. Garamendi, who served as deputy secretary to the U.S. Department of the Interior under Bill Clinton, reintroduced the act in January. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, has sponsored a Senate companion bill since 2010.
We hope readers had an opportunity to check out the time-lapse video on our website of Cachuma Lake responding to recent heavy rains, and slowly filling up. It is breathtaking to watch. Although heavy winter rains can be a major pain, we also must acknowledge their overall benefit of bringing something we desperately need — water. It’s easy to overlook the recent years of severe drought conditions when it’s pouring outside, but drought is one of the facts of life in California, and will likely continue to be in all of our lifetimes.
Environmental groups yesterday asked a federal appeals court to reconsider a ruling that struck down part of a high-profile removal plan for four dams in California and Oregon, saying it set a precedent that would exempt dozens of dams nationwide from meeting water quality standards. If the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stands, they wrote, “dozens of dams that are undergoing licensing would be exempted from compliance with water quality standards for the next 30- to 50-years.” The complicated case concerns four dams on the lower Klamath River in southern Oregon and Northern California owned by Portland, Ore.-based PacifiCorp.
President Donald Trump signed a wide-ranging public lands bill Tuesday that creates five new national monuments and expands several national parks. The new law also adds 1.3 million acres of new wilderness and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects nationwide. It’s the largest public lands bill Congress has considered in a decade, and it won large bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate.
After above average rain and snowfall in February, the sun is starting to shine more in the month of March with warmer temperatures. The spring-like conditions this early are a concern for the Bureau of Reclamation. “We think of the April through the July period as the snowmelt runoff period. At our basin in the upper San Joaquin River we get two-thirds of our run comes during the snowmelt season,” said Michael Jackson, Bureau of Reclamation.
The tail of a Pacific storm will spread sporadic rain across San Diego County until mid-afternoon. Then it will stop, only to return on Tuesday evening and last until about dawn on Wednesday, says the National Weather Service. “Now we know what it’s like to live in Seattle,” says Phil Gonsalves, a forecaster for the National Weather Service. The good news: the weather will turn dry on Wednesday and should stay that way through the weekend. Tuesday’s daytime high will reach 64 in San Diego. Wednesday will be slightly cooler. Then the weather will begin to warm up.
Rising temperatures, rising sea levels and a disappearing snowpack were part of a scary story told to SCV Water Agency officials recently as they learned the effects of climate change over the next 100 years. Last week, members of the SCV Water board were presented data collected and interpreted by state researchers preparing California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. The latest climate assessment was intended to advance “actionable science” that would serve the growing needs of state and local-level decision-makers from a variety of sectors.